Why You Need to Know What Your HTSUS Number


What is HTSUS?

Schedule B and HTSUS are the two different number classifications for US exporters. HTSUS is an acronym for ‘The Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States.’  The World Trade Commission (WTC) is responsible for establishing the harmonized classification system.  Practically all countries use the same classification system (same first 6 digits) in order to maintain a global standard reference.  Although both numbers can be used for exports, only the HTSUS can be used for classifying US imports.

The U.S. International Trade Commission is responsible for organizing as well as maintaining an electronic presence for reference.

Why do I need the number?

Just as our federal government defines (to the ten digit level) the tariff classification of all products being imported into our nation in order to determine the correct rate of duty, so do most nations worldwide.

When you export your product, you need to identify the HTSUS number for what you are exporting.  You will need this number for two reasons; first, to file with the department of commerce your export shipment if the value of any commodity is higher than US$2,500.00 in your shipment; secondly, in order to determine your product’s landed cost at destination and assist your customer/consignee’s clearance process at destination.

HTSUS comes with numerous procedures for classifying the products on diverse attributes, including the product itself (use), material, weight, volume, kw, etc. Our next post will teach you how to classify your product.  Once you classify your product, you will easily be able to file (if required) with the Department of Commerce for exports as well as determine how much profit you can anticipate when identifying new export destinations.

Where do I go to Classify my Export Shipments?

Both of these resources are found online and are free of charge.  The HTSUS (http://www.usitc.gov/tata/hts/bychapter/index.htm) can be found at International Trade Commission site.  The Schedule B (http://www.census.gov/foreign-trade/schedules/b/index.html) can be found on the Department of Commerce website.

Utilizing either of these sites will allow you to classify diverse products for US export law compliance as well as positioning your company to maximize your profits by focusing on more profitable countries.

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